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Sunderland man, 40, captured seagull and masturbated over it as he watched porn in 'bizarre' offence
25 April 2023, 18:33
A 40-year-old man has admitted masturbating over a seagull he captured in "one of the most unusual cases" a court has seen.
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David Lee, from Sunderland, captured the gull and was caught on CCTV watching porn on his phone as he held the bird at about 1am on August 17 last year.
Lee had the animal between his legs and masturbated, South Tyneside Magistrates' Court was told.
He then pulled up his pants and gave it a "little kick" after the incident in Gladstone Street, Sunderland.
Lee was arrested at a takeaway nearby, the hearing was told – as gulls were heard calling out beyond the walls of the court.
When he was arrested, he told police he thought the bird was hurt, so he picked it up and looked through his phone to find out what to do.
He claimed he had been looking for a vet's number, but a check found he had actually been looking at porn.
Initially, Lee was accused of putting his penis in the animal's beak, but that was later modified to say he "took a wild bird and undertook a sexual act, thereby unnecessary suffering was caused".
Lee has a history of mental health, his defence representative Annalisa Moscardini said. A psychiatric report was requested ahead of his sentencing on May 23.
Fay Gilbert, the chairman of the bench, said: "The word 'bizarre' has been used on more than one occasion.
"I have to say that, as experienced magistrates, it is one of the most unusual cases we have come across in the magistrates' court.
"We do find this to be a deliberate or gratuitous attempt to cause suffering to an animal, or shall we say, a bird, and therefore we feel that a psychiatric report would be most appropriate in this case."
Prosecutors will ask for an order that would ban Lee from owning animals.